The Morality of Piracy

Many believe that music piracy is immoral and to an extent can be considered stealing.  Sure in some cases it may seem as if this is the case but have you ever questioned who you are stealing from?  A statistic acquired from Wired magazine shows that a very small fraction of music that is paid for digitally actually goes to the artists “Most download retailers send about 70 percent of each sale to the record companies that own the music. Artists with 15 percent royalty deals get 15 percent of that 70 percent, or about 10.5 cents per dollar of sales.”(Paul Boutin).  This statistic disproves the common misconception that by pirating music, the public is taking money directly out of the artist’s pockets.

A popular solution the illegal piracy movement is the purchase of digital albums from websites like iTunes.  iTunes uses their very user-friendly interface in order to attract customers.  By creating a quick and easy way to purchase music easily along with instant gratification is what has started to make piracy less and less popular.  However iTunes, while a well put together and easy to use has many faults that many people may view as an infringement of their basic freedoms.  “Buy a song from Apple’s iTunes Media Store, for example, and you can copy the file to five computers but no more. That’s because the song comes with Apple’s DRM software, FairPlay, baked in, and FairPlay has its own ideas about what is and isn’t fair. but there’s something annoyingly unfair about FairPlay even in the abstract. You paid for the music. Who is Apple to tell you where you can and can’t stick it?  Consumers feel retailers are treating them like potential copyright criminals.”(Lev Grossman, Time)  When you buy something it should be yours to do with as you please but with iTunes’ built in DRM policy you are being denied that basic right.  It is the denial of this basic freedom that has turned people against organized and legal music downloading and back to piracy where even though they might have came across their music by illegal means they are still full owners of the material.

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